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Hotel Fees / Front Desk Tips / Aditya Rajaram / Tips / Hotel Pet Peeves / Hotel Front Desks / → All Tags
Our former front desk guy has given valuable tips on effectively complaining to the front desk when something goes wrong. Now, he's got a few tips on getting around those pesky hotel fees that pop up from out of nowhere on your bill.
Hotels have been notorious for offering "convenient" products and services, then finding a way to tack on the extra charges to your hotel bill before you leave. According to a recent report, those fees will total up to $2.25 billion for hotels in the U.S. for this year alone.
While some fees and surcharges are unavoidable, i.e. the infamous Javits Convention Center tax in NYC and state and municipal taxes, there are other fees that aren't always clearly marked, like that daily newspaper charge that is actually optional or the pool towel fee that isn't listed anywhere except in small print at the bottom of a sign far away from the pool entrance.
Here are some ways to ensure you avoid these fees and if they are unfairly charged, how to get them removed:
Every so often, the mainstream media gets fired up about hidden hotel fees. This usually happens when it's revealed how much hotels are making off these miscellaneous yet maddening fees. This year it will be about $2.25 billion, according to a new NYU report.
Us, being both regular hotel guests and hotel trend watchers, have become somewhat accustomed, but no less outraged, to the random fees that pop up during a hotel stay.
Back in 2010 we detailed 10 Most Ridiculous Hotel Fees, included the heinous WiFi charges, the confusing room service charges and the annoying resort fees.
The next year, we followed that up with 5 Hotels That Are Acting Like Airlines with Extra Fees and made it clear we did not like the fees for making a reservation over the phone, nor the early check-in fee and certainly not the baggage storage fee.
Just last year, we uncovered more hidden fees, including the fee for the bottled water on the night stand, the towel at the pool and the safe in the closet. And soon after that, we were blindsided by a random newspaper charge. #GRR. Most recently, we uncovered another sinister type of fee creeping around London, the minimum spend fee during peak hours at the bar.
But hotels want to make money, so fees for things you would expect to be free have long been how they do business. The only way to avoid these fees is to assume that everything you use inside your hotel room, save for the water, towels, and toiletries, will cost extra. Study the little notes placed around the room by the hotel, whether it be the mini-bar menu, or the note about WiFi placed on the desk, to see if there is a charge and how much it will be.
And of course, if a fee pops up unexpectedly on your bill, head right down to the front desk to dispute it. Just make sure you know how to effectively complain to them.
[Photo: Cynthia Drescher/HotelChatter]
Talk about annoying. After a long journey, you finally check into a luxury hotel and are handed your room card and minibar key. All is well, and for the $250+ late summer rate you're paying at the Pan Pacific Vancouver, the room comes with a lovely view and an enviable waterfront location. Still, something is amiss.
24-Hour Hotel Stays / Phoenix Hotels / Hotel News / Resort Fees / Hotel Fees / Ben Bethel / → All Tags
You may actually get to enjoy the pool at The Clarendon now.
Just the other month, we were all hopped up on a new hotel trend, 24-hour hotel stays, wishing, hoping, praying that more and more hotels would start offering this. And guess what? One hotel in Phoenix has.
The friendly, independent and social media savvy, Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix just launched this option a week ago, making the announcement on Facebook. Starting this month, the hotel has been allowing all one-night bookings to be 24-hour full-day stays. So if you check-in at 7pm, you don't need to check out until 7pm the next day. Best of all, the hotel is not charging any extra. We found rooms next week for $109 a night for either the Best Available Rate or the 24 Hour Room. And rates were super affordable too, at $109 a night.
We all know that early check-ins at hotels are elusive. It all depends on a few things--how full the hotel was the night before, how fast the other guests get their belongings together and out the door and how quickly housekeeping can get in there and turn over the room.
We typically have good luck with early check-ins during the week and at huge hotels that don't always sell out like the big casino hotels in Las Vegas (mid-week of course, definitely not on a Friday or a Sunday.) But if that doesn't work, then we have to find ways to kill time in the hotel lobby, or the nearby area, for a few hours until the 3pm check-in time. Unless we want to pay extra for it with an early check-in fee.
We first noticed early check-in fees back in 2011 when we compared hotels to airlines, thanks to all the extra fees they were tacking onto hotel stays. But we've never actually seen them in the wild.
But at Caesars Atlantic City we saw this sign at check-in.
We know there have been lots of complaints about the resort fees that have popped up in recent years, those pesky room-rate increasers that drive up the price and seemingly add very little to the experience. The hotels explain this by insisting that it helps to pay for things like local phone calls, in-room safes and mini fridges –- things that used to and should be included in the regular room rate. Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas even put out a load of PR BS about how "guests asked for them."
To that, we tend to roll our eyes. Personally, we’d rather hotels just increase the base rate instead of using the resort fee to help them advertise what turns out to be a misleading rate.
That all said, we always try to keep a good head on our shoulders and a positive attitude, so we did some digging. What we found is that while all resort fees are annoying, some aren’t as worthless as others. It still doesn’t make them a joy to pay, but at least, in some places, we are getting something in return that might actually save us a few dimes elsewhere. Think access to spas, yoga sessions, scuba classes, green fees, complimentary appetizers, and shuttle services.
Lounging at this oasis in the middle of the desert will cost you an extra $30 a night.
We've compiled a list of desert hotels that are adding an extra charge, per night, plus tax for things that you would normally expect to be free with your hotel stay (Use of the "computer center"? Uh, no thanks.) However, you do get more of your money's worth at the bigger golf and spa resorts where they offer bag storage, shuttle service and exercises classes.
What's even more frustrating is that some of these hotels don't list their resort fee anywhere on their websites until you get to the final step of the online booking process. But hopefully, our list will help you be better informed about your desert getaway. And for what it's worth, most of these fees do include WiFi.
Know of a resort fee in Palm Springs that we missed? Let us know and we'll add it to the list!
School's out for summer and in Orlando that means the crowds are a-coming. If you're heading to Disney World, Sea World or Universal Studios during peak season (now-August), you know you are going to end up paying more than you'd like for everything from park admission to food and worst of all, souvenirs. You should also be prepared to read the fine print for your hotel stay as several hotels in the area charge the dreaded resort fees.
While not as prevalent as Las Vegas, Orlando does have a fair amount of hotels that charge additonal for services that used to be "free" like pool access and in-room safes.
Below we've rounded up the hotels that charge an all-encompassing resort fee (and not just separate fees for parking or shuttle services.) Some fees include internet and some do not. All of these are also taxable.
Know of a resort fee in Orlando? Tell us in comments!
Hotel Behaviors / Hotel Guests / Lists / Hotel Toiletries / Hotel Fees / Hotel Secrets / Hotel Shame / → All Tags
Let's just get it all out there in the open today. Here are 10 Things Everyone Does in a Hotel Room But Won’t Admit. Confessing our sins to one another will cleanse us from all unrighteousness, right? Eh, whatever. You paid for the room, go wild!
1. Steals the toiletries, even the no-name ones: Because what if you run out of shampoo or conditioner at home and can't get to the drugstore before your next shower? Also, because deep down you're a hoarder.
2. Pays $4 for a candy bar: Especially after long flights. Damn you, Snickers. And Kit Kat, too.
3. Walks around naked: Why not? So long as we're not doing sex acts in front of the High Line, it's more than ok to walk around naked in our room. And so long as the curtains are closed.
Hotel Fees / Hotel Tips / Lists / → All Tags
In addition to the resort fees that have been a topic of late, more often we’re seeing little charges on our hotel bills or hearing of people being nickel-and-dimed for services they feel should be included in the hotel rate. The Federal Trade Commission has recently sent a letter to some hotels, warning them to disclose all fees in the total hotel price.
Here’s some of the more finer print charges you should be on the look-out for:
Bedside Water: Oh, you think that bottle of water at turndown is to quench your middle-of-the night the thirst? Sure it is, to the tune of $7. Take a look a pic above. The bottle was turned so we didn’t see the price sticker until the morning (we’d come in pretty late night before) and had already taken a swig. Bam! And it tasted like regular tap water to boot!
Early departure fee: Some hotels will charge you if you have reserved for a certain amount of days and decide to check-out early. They’ve already counted on that revenue and need to make it up if you’ve changed your mind.
Minibar removal fees: You think you’re doing the right thing by removing treat temptation if you ask staff to remove or empty the mini-bar. This is especially true with small children on board. But that service isn’t free in some hotels. You may find a charge of up to $25 on your bill. And if you ask for a minifridge to chill your own treats? Expect a fee for that!
The new Nobu Hotel has barely been open a full month and already some changes are being made. And we wish it were for the better.
Caeasars Palace, who along with its sister properties in Vegas, so valiantly fought the resort fee craze a few years ago, has finally given in and will now be charging $10-$25 a night at their hotels. Those fees will include a variety of services and amenities, among them, WiFi and fitness center access. We're guessing Nobu, a luxury hotel located within Caesars, will be charging near the $25 mark but we're still awaiting confirmation of the exact price.
Hurricane Sandy / Hotel News / Manhattan Hotels / New Jersey Hotels / Saturday Night Live / Hotel Fees / Room Service / → All Tags
As was the case in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, disaster victims in New York and New Jersey are now being promised temporary government-paid hotel stays, if their housing situation (or lack thereof) warrants it. Though, don't go thinking these folks are headed for The Plaza or anything. At this point, all they care about is a dry, warm bed and a toilet that flushes.
Here's how it works: FEMA agrees to foot the bill for pre-arranged hotel stays that have been assigned to victims by a third party contractor (whose name is Corporate Lodging Consultants, in case you were wondering). The cost of the rooms is set at a fixed rate--the same rate paid for all federal employees who stay in hotels while on business.
The trouble is, even with that cushy government discount, rooms in NYC are still kinda pricey. Like $295/night pricey.
Which is why FEMA is now stipulating that, while eligible victims will indeed receive hotel rooms, the government won't pick up any room service or telephone charges.